There hasn’t been one day in the more than 18,000 or so spread out over 50 years that Noel Croxon hasn’t enjoyed going to work or being engaged in the business in some way.
The founder of NewRoads Automotive Group, who celebrated half a century in the business at a luncheon Dec. 20 at its Yonge Street showroom in Newmarket, was lauded as someone who rose to success from humble beginnings and always took the time to give back to the community.
“I love to see the people who started here many years ago and who are still with us,” said Croxon, who will turn 90 on Christmas day. “There’s one fellow who started with us changing oil and he’s still here and is a manager.”
Croxon recalled a major moment in the automotive business came in the mid-1970s when General Motors downsized its big wagons such as the Caprice to a smaller, compact size.
“That was one of the biggest changes, we sold 100 cars in one week at the time that happened,” Croxon said.
From a two-car showroom in 1968 to a five-dealership strong automotive group today headquartered in Newmarket, Croxon and his longtime business partner, Deryck Gilpin, have plenty to celebrate.
“We had another great year at the dealership,” chief operating officer Jim Van Dussen told the assembled guests.
Newmarket Councillor Kelly Broome has worked with NewRoads for 11 years as its marketing, communications and community relations manager.
But perhaps one of the greatest compliments one can receive is when your children follow in your footsteps, said guest and York Regional Police Deputy Chief Thomas Carrique. Croxon’s son, Michael, serves as president and CEO of the company.
“Noel’s legacy lives in Michael and in the difference that he and NewRoads make in the community, whether it’s contributing to local health care, or the Holiday Heroes toy drive so children can have joy on Christmas day, hope and love in their house. These two gentlemen we owe all that to,” Deputy Chief Carrique said to applause.
Croxon agreed that NewRoads is in good hands under son Michael’s leadership.
“Michael’s a people person, he recognizes good people and he promotes good people,” Croxon said.
His other two adult children fill him with pride, as well, he said. Son Bruce Coxon, a digital pioneer who appeared from 2011 to 2013 on CBC’s Dragons’ Den, made headlines when he sold the early online dating website Lavalife, which he co-founded, for a whopping $180 million. Daughter Sheilagh Croxon is an Olympic medal-winning synchronized swimming coach who wrote her father’s biography, with Claire Carver-Dias, Traction: The Life and Legacy of Noel Croxon.NewRoads Automotive Group has five showrooms featuring GM, Subaru, Mazda and Chrysler. Its headquarters is at 18100 Yonge St., in Newmarket. For more information, call 905-898-2277 or visit online.